Peng Shuai: WTA remains concerned about Chinese player despite video call with IOC
Peng spoke for 30 minutes with IOC President Thomas Bach; There has been global concern about Peng since she alleged that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her; WTA: "(The videos) don't alleviate or address the WTA's concern."
Last Updated: 25/11/21 7:54am
The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) says Chinese player Peng Shuai's video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not address or alleviate concern about her wellbeing.
The whereabouts of Peng, a former doubles world No 1, became a matter of international concern nearly three weeks ago, Peng having disappeared after alleging that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her.
She then appeared at a dinner with friends on Saturday and a children's tennis tournament in Beijing on Sunday, photographs and videos published by Chinese state media journalists and by the tournament's organisers show.
- Peng says she is 'safe and well' in IOC video call
- China's state media releases new footage of Peng
- Peng Shuai purportedly seen in video released by state media
The IOC said in a statement that Peng held a 30-minute call with its president Thomas Bach on Sunday, during which she said she was safe and well at home in Beijing, and wanted to have her privacy respected for now.
A WTA spokesperson said: "It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don't alleviate or address the WTA's concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion."
Asked about the call with the IOC, the spokesperson said: "This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern."
The concern over Peng comes as global rights groups and others have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February over China's human rights record.
The WTA has also threatened to pull tournaments out of China over the matter.
Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-owned newspaper Global Times who has in recent days posted videos and photographs of Peng in Beijing, said on Twitter on Monday that her appearance should be enough to ease worries of "those who truly care about (the) safety of Peng Shuai".
He added: "But for those aiming to attack China's system and boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics, facts, no matter how many, don't work for them."
On November 2, Peng posted on Chinese social media that Zhang had coerced her into sex and they later had an on-off consensual relationship.
The post was quickly deleted and the topic has been blocked from discussion on China's heavily censored internet.